Strategy 5: Focus on continuous quality improvement
Continuous quality improvement is the mantra of many
manufacturing organizations. It is also a primary focus of effective CAD
leaders. Your CAD system can have a significant impact on the quality of the
products that you design, the efficiency of your development processes, and the
ramifications of your work on downstream operations. How well your CAD tools
help you eliminate design errors, maximize productivity, and foster innovation
will determine the size of your group’s contribution to continuous quality
Everyone involved in product development wants to eliminate
design errors, and with the right mix of CAD tools, you can pinpoint errors
during design and avoid the delays and costs that occur when errors make their
way into production. Are you using an integrated analysis/simulation
application to identify potential performance issues? Are you ensuring
sufficient clearances in your moving assemblies through the use of collision
detection capabilities? Are you conducting draft analyses on injection-molded
parts to ensure production of molds of consistent quality? Are you assessing
the manufacturability of your machined parts? If not, there are integrated tools
that can help you.
A focus on continuous quality improvement also applies to
your development processes. How do you complete tolerance stackups: manually or
using an automated CAD tool? What about prototyping? Do you conduct physical
tests or take advantage of virtual and rapid prototyping technologies? Do you
have an integrated PDM system that gives you tight revision control and allows
you to reuse designs that perform particularly well?
Sustainable design is an emerging area of focus for
achieving continuous quality improvement. As consumer awareness of
environmental impacts and preference for “greener” products continue to rise,
assessing the sustainability of your products and processes becomes
increasingly important. To get out in front of this trend, you can use CAD
tools that evaluate the sustainability of your designs.
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*This article is an excerpt from the "Ten Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader White Paper", published by DS SOLIDWORKS Corp.